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Science
07 Dec 2018

WizPhone is a Rs. 500 phone, but not by Google

Google never launched the WizPhone feature phone

Fact-checking, they say, is the first step in journalism. And in the day-and-age of social media and fake news, getting the facts right is all the more crucial.

Coming to point, you would by now know (courtesy leading publications) that Google recently launched WizPhone - a Rs. 500 feature phone.

Well, some basic fact checking confirms Google didn't launch any such phone.

Here's more.

In context

Google never launched the WizPhone feature phone
The Story: 'Google launches JioPhone competitor WizPhone at Rs. 500'

Details

The Story: 'Google launches JioPhone competitor WizPhone at Rs. 500'

Many leading publications reported that Google has launched WizPhone WP006, a Rs. 500 feature phone, and dubbed it as the "JioPhone competitor".

And yes, this makes the perfect headline. Just that the tech giant didn't announce a feature phone.

But why did these leading publications report something like this? The answer lies in a misleading tweet and the lack of fact-checking.

Here's the misleading tweet

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An explanation

The tweet by KaiOS served as a trap for many

On December 4, Google held its third annual "Google for Indonesia" event wherein it launched a variety of products and announced partnerships including Google Assistant on WizPhone and not the WizPhone itself.

Now, given WizPhone runs on KaiOS, the KaiOS team tweeted out saying "...Google just announced the new US$7 (!!) WizPhone that runs on KaiOS."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

A little fact check would have saved this fake news

Rule #1

A little fact check would have saved this fake news

Just a little fact check by these publications would have saved this fake news from getting propagated.

But given we live in the times of clickbaity stories, that's probably too much to ask for.

Google's official blog in Indonesia, when translated in English, clearly mentions the sub-heading "Assistant for more people on WizPhone" which, when dug further, confirmed WizPhone is not a Google-made phone.

Translated

Here's what the Google blog post sub-header says

"WizPhone is the first Indonesian-made mobile phone equipped with Google Assistant. Created jointly by WizPhone and Alfamart, WizPhone uses KaiOS, a lightweight mobile operating system that delivers sophisticated applications and services in middle-class mobile phones," reads Google's official blog post in Indonesia.

It further adds, "WizPhone equipped with Google Assistant is launched through Alfamart stores throughout Indonesia, at a price of only IDR 99,000."

Meanwhile, here are the details about the 'not-made-by-Google' WizPhone

Specs & features

Meanwhile, here are the details about the 'not-made-by-Google' WizPhone

The WizPhone WP006 features a 2.4-inch display and comes with a 2MP rear camera and a VGA front camera for video calling.

The 4G-compatible phone is powered the Snapdragon MSM8905 chipset, paired with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage.

Further, the feature phone runs KaiOS which offers apps like Google Maps, Google Assistant, YouTube, WhatsApp, and others.

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